Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Training - Crash

I walked into the handicap stall, the only one actually, but luckily a handicap one. Unusually for a public bathroom it had a lid on the toilet, which I promptly lowered.

I wasn't here to use the toilet.

I hung my "kit bag" on the door handle, another bonus in the bathroom. The door resembled that of a changing room, not one of a toilet, and that made it seem a bit more normal.

Plus the large handle made for a nice hook.

I pulled off my work boots (steel toe, zillions of eyelets to unlace), then my jeans. My team shorts, which I'd been wearing under the jeans, were a bit wrinkled but otherwise unharmed.

I pulled those off too, and, conscious that someone may come in to actually use the toilet, pulled on my underwear.

Then I got to work.

I'd already done a quick Action Wipe clean up. But now I needed a little more.

The first aid spray, along with a generous serving of toilet paper as a gauze pad, let me clean out the wounds, wipe down the abrasions. Toilet paper is a bit flimsy so I had to make sure I didn't leave any behind. I lifted the toilet lid and dropped the wet paper there.

Then, quickly, the larger Tegaderm patches, for the hip. With the fluency of practice, I quickly peeled off the paper backing, stuck the clear film onto the wound, and removed the paper "frame".

Two more patches on my leg, another on my elbow, but these were smaller ones.

I felt like Jason Bourne, patching himself up after a little adventure. I'd say Terminator, but he was really hurt. Except I didn't take the stuff from a store, nor did I shoot up half of Moscow getting away from the bad guys.

No, I was just recovering from a group ride.

It was pretty innocent, actually. We had done most of the ride (I was suffering like crazy), and now we were heading back to the start point, in cool down mode. A small gap opened up in front myself and a few guys; we were busy talking. Then, naturally, one guy went to close the gap, calling out to the rest of us to join him. We all jumped at about the same time.

I got up to a decent speed - it was the hardest jump of the ride, now that I look at the data. But since I was over-geared, it took me a while to get up to speed.

This meant that when I finally caught the group in front, I was going kind of fast - about 32 mph, according to Mr SRM.

I started veering left, following the first guy, intending on doing a flyby of the group just pedaling along. I checked my seven to make sure there were no cars, turned back around...


Slammed (like "Suh-Lammed") into the cassette of the guy in front, who, instead of going around the front group, slowed to their speed. Which, I should point out, was much slower than how fast I was going. I talk about recovering from touching a front tire, babble on about the sphere and such, but when you hit someone that hard... well, when I hit someone that hard, I had no chance.

Impact speed: 30 mph (Mr SRM, again)

Estimated speed of guy I hit: 15 mph

It's possible I scrubbed off 2 mph of speed because I actually hit 32 mph before I started to slow, but I'm not sure. I think I eased on my acceleration to check my seven.

I went flying off the bike, left side, and skittered along the pavement. I wasn't that hurt, but I sat in the road for a second or eight, gathering my thoughts.

The left side of my body hurt. Hands stung a bit. Stinging on the left leg. No real pain, no deep scream-your-head-off, break-down-and-cry pain. Just some stinging.

I realized I was sitting in the middle of a road that cars use so I got up. Walked over to the grass on the shoulder. My bike was already there, someone already checking it over. It looked fine, nothing really damaged. A small dent in the top tube - probably from my shoe.

I did another self-check. Legs okay. Muscles worked. Arms okay. No serious pain. Shoulders fine. Head okay. No ringing or dizziness or anything.

A woman came out of a house across the street.

"You want to call someone?"

We as a group declined. I was fine. Shaken, but fine. I don't remember talking very much. I directed most of my attention inward, to my body, interrogating different parts of my body, making sure that each bit responded appropriately.

They did.

The bike seemed good too. Wheels okay, brakes worked, nothing in the bar/stem area loose or sketchy. I got back on the bike, looking at the chain as I did. It looked normal - weird chain behavior would have meant a bent derailleur or crank (or worse), but the chain looked fine.

I rode back to the cars with everyone else. They seemed to keep an eye on me, waiting for the unfelt injury to make itself known. Or a mechanical bit to fail.

As I rode I noticed less critical things. Levers a bit skewed. Saddle may have been a bit off, but maybe not.

I thought of Somerville, next Monday. Six days away. I should be okay for the race. A little stiff for a few days but that should be it. I still wanted to work on my form - I felt like I was pedaling squares - but with the lingering stiffness it would be difficult for a day or two.

I recalled that when I was on the road that my bike only hit the left side, which, in my bike shop mind, meant no drive train damage. It shifted fine, confirming that thought.

I realized when I had trouble unclipping that something happened to my shoes. When I examined them I found fresh chips in both cleats. One corner of a cleat had disappeared - and since the corner is what disengages the pedal, I couldn't unclip pushing in that direction.

When I went to start my car, the key felt a bit rough. I'd fallen on the key, scraping it slightly. Apparently it stuck a hole in my jersey, but I didn't understand the words when someone told me that as I did that second self-check, standing on the side of the road.

We had been planning on going to dinner after the ride and I wasn't about to let a little bit of road rash spoil the party. So, before I got to the restaurant, I stopped by a CVS. Bought some supplies. Hit the road. Found the restaurant.

After I dressed my wounds, I flushed the toilet to get rid of the evidence. I stuffed everything back into my kit bag and walked out to our table.

Now that I'm home things are stinging a bit more. We'll see how it goes in the next day or two.

My "kit bag" unpacked. Big Tegaderms and little ones, spray wash, tape, gauze, and litter.


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear it wasn't anything serious. It's not often you hear someone crashed in excess of 30 mph in a group and didn't end up in the ambulance.

knitseashore said...

Now that you've got that over with for the season, I'm hoping we won't have anything to worry about in the upcoming races!

I hope you feel better soon, and are not too stiff. I'm glad your bike is all right as well.

Aki said...

Amazingly my neck is the only thing that's sore two days later. I didn't wear my neck brace (which I saved from a minor fender bender in 1989) to bed the first night - big mistake. Whenever I tweak my neck I try and wear the brace, to the Missus's amusement.

Okay, I'm still a bit stiff. But neck is the worst.

Connor Sallee said...

hey aki - can you tell me some group rides in the area? i live in danbury and i'm bored with my rides!
thanks - connor

Aki said...

Connor - I don't know the rides in the area - I'm living up by Hartford now. Check with Bethel, the IRS Medic guys, etc. Wed nights in Greenwich are supposed to be hard. Hope this helps.